Monday, 1 September 2014

Stammer School

Laura Gibson, is a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist at the trust's Stammering Support Centre. After watching 'Stammer School' on Thursday, she has offered her thoughts on the programme and compared the advice shown with what the support centre in Leeds do.   

"As soon as I saw the Channel 4 programme, ‘Stammer School’ advertised I quickly added it to my planner. I work as a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist at the Stammering Support Centre based in Leeds where we see children and adults from the Yorkshire and Humber area and beyond and I was really interested to learn about how the therapy approaches differed from those used at my place of work.

It was great to hear everyone’s stories and the different reasons why people had come to the ‘Stammer School.’ Everyone’s stammer or stutter, was different both in its nature and also the impact that it had on each individual’s life. I was struck by how Musharaf had wanted to do some teaching work experience whilst Vicky had wanted to speak out at a charity ball.

There were a couple of things which would be different from the “Stammer School” at the Stammering Support Centre:

1. We tailor our therapy packages to the individual: we believe in an eclectic approach to stammering therapy at Stammering Support Centre. We always tailor our assessments and therapy approaches to the individual and we have different assessments[1] and therapy for different age ranges. So for example, one person may attend 1:1 sessions whilst another may benefit more from our ‘Talking Out’ outdoor pursuits group program.

2. We focus on long term outcomes. Whilst independent programs can make massive improvements over a short period of time, it can be hard to maintain specific strategies. Our aim would be facilitate the development of skills and strategies which would enable the individual to independently manage their stammer in the longer term.

3. Holistic management. Often with therapy it is not just about the stammer but also the environment as talking may be more difficult in certain contexts or with certain people. We would be interested in identifying those variables and also working with the individual, the family, friends, teachers, employers – indeed anyone who could make a significant impact on the environment of the person who stammered.

4. Evidence based approaches. At the centre we always base our work on the latest research and clinical evidence. We would not advocate or trust any approach that had not been through rigorous evaluation. That is why we evaluate everything we do with clients to make sure that it is as effective and efficient as it could be. We are also concerned with researching innovative ways of working and developing new strategies[2].

If you are interested in hearing more about our work at the Stammering Support Centre, email ‘Getting the Word Out’ to and we will add you to our distribution list for our monthly newsletter."

[1]Our assessments for children and young people are free due to charitable funding from Action for Stammering Children.

[2] Development of app for young people and adults who stammer.

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